June 25, 2024

Bruins surprised by lack of intensity in lackluster loss to Rangers

Boston Coach Jim Montgomery said he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by his team’s effort in a 5-2 loss on Thursday night.

It was a game against a fellow division leader and a Stanley Cup contender. It was a game not only against a rival, but one who blew them out earlier in the year.

Press Room: Jim Montgomery | Boston Bruins

The Bruins have had some intensity and energy issues at the times down the stretch, but they’ve been more prevalent against lesser opponents. Good opponents have usually summoned the best from Boston.

The 5-2 final margin was a little misleading because the Rangers scored two empty-net goals. The Rangers outplayed the Bruins by more than a goal.

Bruins Coach Jim Montgomery didn’t see this one coming.

“They checked really well. I don’t think we checked well enough. I don’t think we competed hard enough on pucks,” he said. “Surprised and disappointed.”

Montgomery said the Bruins’ struggles were neither the result of fatigue nor the Rangers’ game plan.

“We should not be tired. I don’t think it’s a reflection of their defense. We should be able to gain middle ice a lot. We just weren’t attacking it,” he said. “They did a real good job checking and we didn’t do a good enough job fighting through their layers.”

The Bruins players talked about taking lessons from it.

“I think we could do a better job of playing a 60-minute game. … We’re not happy with the loss, but there’s a lot of great opportunities to move forward and get better,” goalie Jeremy Swayman said. “You don’t want to lose, but you want to trust the process.”

Swayman is awarded $3.475 million in arbitration, while the Bruins avoid a  hearing with Frederic - The San Diego Union-Tribune

“I think we try to look at ourselves more. We didn’t really get up to our game. They won more battles than us. They were hungrier. That’s something we know we can tighten up,” Lindholm said. “We have to find a way to stick with it over 60 minutes every game and not have spare moments where we kind of get off it. … They outworked us a little bit.”

FOR BRAD MARCHAND and other veteran players, it’s not uncommon to sit out an occasional practice for “maintenance days.”

Montgomery even said earlier that his captain would likely miss some practices down the stretch to help him be fresh for the playoffs. But after Friday’s practice before the team got set to leave for Philadelphia to start their six-game road trip, Montgomery said Marchand’s absence was for maintenance (for an undisclosed ailment) and added that he’d probably play.

“Most likely, I’m not going to say 100 percent,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery wasn’t sure whether James van Riemsdyk, who has been bouncing back from an illness would be in the lineup either. He’s missed the last two games.

James van Riemsdyk at One Year for $1 Million Has Been a Steal for the  Bruins – Black N' Gold Hockey

Leaving the door cracked open even a little for the possibility of Marchand missing a game was unusual. Marchand has played all 71 games and has 27 goals and 35 assists. He’s gone five games without a goal and is stuck on 399 for his career.

“Sometimes if things don’t go your way you get impatient. I think he’s impatient right now,” Montgomery said. “Especially on the power play.”

CAPITALS: Winger Tom Wilson was suspended six games for his stick to the face of Toronto forward Noah Gregor.

The NHL’s department of player safety gave Wilson a suspension tied for the longest of any player this season after a disciplinary hearing with him on Zoom. The league offering that type of hearing instead of a phone call allowed senior vice president of player safety George Parros to hand down a suspension of six or more games.

Wilson can appeal, first to Commissioner Gary Bettman and then, if he and the NHL Players’ Association choose, to a neutral arbitrator. He had a 20-game suspension for a blindside hit to to the head in 2018 reduced to 14 games by an arbitrator on appeal after he had already served 16.

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